Many people are worried about genetically modified organisms, otherwise known as GMOs. These may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but actually they are quite common—in fact, there may be a number in your pantry right now. GMOs have been used in the food industry, and growing concerns about the long-term health risks have prompted some companies to specifically label their products as GMO-free.
In some countries like in Europe the law requires food manufacturers to indicate on the packaging whether the products contain GMO or not. In the United States and Asia, however, companies are free to do this or not. However, many groups are lobbying for GMO labeling to become mandatory. The Food and Drug Association is currently reviewing the policy. Some states, however, have decided to ban the production of GMOs within their jurisdiction, or required products made in the area to label packages.
GMO is more common than people think. Many soy bean and corn products have GMO since these crops also “contaminate” neighboring fields with GMO-seeds. This is one reason why many groups are rallying against GMO products, since these modify species and have a long-term, dangerous effect on biological diversity. There are also some cases when the GMO’s grow to become resistant to herbicides and pesticides. This has forced farmers to use higher and more potent doses of these chemicals, which find their way into soil, water supply, and our food.
While many manufacturers claim that GMO’s are harmless those who rally for GMO labeling believe that the consumer should know what is in the food and make an informed, empowered choice.